History in the Making

 

Albert Sands Southworth was a daguerreotypist who operated one of the early photographic firms in Boston called Southworth & Hawes. Along with his business partner, Josiah Johnson Hawes, Southworth raised the bar for portraits made during the early days of photography. For years, the two worked almost exclusively in the daguerreotype process. Their pictures were characterised by fine details and an often mellowed depth. On two occasions, Southworth and Hawes were invited to document a historic moment in medicine, where a patient was to be administered with ether during a public demonstration. “It is required and should be the aim of the artist-photographer to produce in the likeness the best possible character and finest expression of which that particular face or figure could ever have been capable. But in the result there is to be no departure from truth in the delineation and representation of beauty, and expression, and character.”

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